In a five-page decision, the Comelec's Second Division said Svetlana Jalosjos failed to prove that she stayed long enough in Baliangao as a resident to be qualified to run for mayor.
Section 39 of the Local Government Code of the Philippines states that a candidate running for an elective post must be a resident of the municipality or province where he or she is running, for at least a year.
Svetlana won over Agne Yap by only six votes in the last elections.
In the said ruling, signed by Comelec Commissioners Nicodemo Ferrer, Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph, it opined that the young Jalosjos failed to establish her residency, which would allow her to run and sit as mayor of the said town.
Svetlana, won as mayor of Baliangao town against Agne Yap Sr. by only six votes. Svetlana, being an artist is now running the family’s entertainment venture Fantasyland in Dapitan.
The Comelec argued that Svetlana “failed to prove her bodily presence in Baliangao and her intention to remain therein and her intention not to return to her domicile of origin, Dapitan City.”
“As it is, respondent even admitted that she is the one attending to their family businesses in Dapitan City. Her claim that she purchased two parcels of land in Baliangao is not backed up by any title. More importantly, the local officials of Baliangao in their joint affidavit declared that they have not seen respondent in their locality,” the document states.
The election court also pointed out that the purpose of the residency requirement is to prevent a newcomer, who is unfamiliar with the conditions and needs of the community a candidate wants to serve.
According to the resolution, the residency requirement is aimed at excluding outsiders from taking advantage of favorable circumstances existing in the community for electoral gain.
The COMELEC cited the requirements of domicile, which includes residence or bodily presence in the new locality, an intention to remain there and intention to abandon the old domicile. In the case of Svetlana Jalosjos, these requirements were absent citing that her original domicile is Dapitan City.
The case reached the Comelec after petitioners Edwin Elim Tumpag and Rodolfo Estrellada lodged their petition to question Svetlana’s qualifications.